Billie Jean King Cup 2022: Great Britain vs Czech Republic: Day Two Reactions
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After day two of Great Britain's Billie Jean King Cup Qualifying tie against 11-time world champions, the Czech Republic, we take a look at what the team have to say about the day's play.
Captain Anne Keothavong and the team gave their reactions to all the action on the final day of Great Britain's Billlie Jean King Cup qualifying tie against the Czech Republic.
"I do feel really proud of all the players and the team effort that has gone into this weekend", admitted Keothavong.
"The fact that we took it all the way down to the deciding rubber just shows how much guts and courage the players had today.
"The way Harriet was able to bounce back after yesterday’s performance, and put in the performance she did today... and win her first live rubber for Great Britain – I was just delighted.”
Keothavong also commented on Dart's outstanding performance against rising star, Linda Fruhvirtova.
"We were ready for it, and Harriet came out, and you could see from the start she was well prepped", said the captain.
British No.1 Emma Raducanu was first up to face Czech’s clay connoisseur, Markéta Vondroušová, in the reverse singles rubber on day two of Great Britain’s qualifying tie.
Raducanu was forced to dig deep as she came face-to-face with former French Open runner-up - tested to her limits as she stood at the receiving end of Vondroušová’s famous drop shot.
The reigning US Open champion struggled her way through the second set as she found herself impeded by blisters, eventually losing 6-1, 6-1 to the Czech star.
"It is very disappointing when you’re out there playing a rubber for your country, and you feel completely redundant, but I guess I can’t really do anything about it," explained Raducanu.
"I have a blister on my foot, it kind of showed up after yesterday’s match and we’ve been managing it but as you saw I couldn’t really move or load either way and now it’s just about trying to get it better as soon as possible."
Harriet Dart came back fighting on day two, showing no mercy as she went head-to-head with 16-year-old, Linda Fruhvirtova.
In warrior-like fashion, Dart stormed ahead in the first set, comfortably maintaining her service hold, but in true fighting spirit, Fruhvirtova exhibited tenacity, coming back from 2-0 to take the second set.
After a titanic tussle, and two-and-a-quarter hours of unyielding battle, Dart saw out the final set, eventually taking the match 6-0, 5-7, 6-2.
With a sigh of relief, Dart reflected on the match that restored the Brits' fighting spirit.
“I think I will have given my team a bit of a heart attack, but I’m pleased to be able to keep us in this tie and come through the match”, she explains.
“[It was] the first singles rubber that I'd won, and I was super happy to be able to close it out.
“I think it’s natural that I was a bit nervous to close [the second set] out but I was pleased that I could reset and stay mentally strong. I’m really proud of myself that I managed to get through.
"I wear my heart on my sleeve, and I fight until the very end, and I feel like I really did my best today."
After a characterful clash, Dart had nothing but respect for the up-and-coming Czech star.
“We are two very different players and I’m sure Linda was quite nervous too with it being her debut, but she’s a great player and I knew it was always going to be a tough match. It was never going to be over until the final point and she fought really hard, so it was great to come through.”
In the end, Fruhvirtova defiance wasn’t enough to stop the British solidity.
On to the deciding doubles match where British No.2 Harriet Dart, and 23-year-old, Katie Swan battled Czech No.1, Markéta Vondroušová, and former world No.19, Karolína Muchová, to fight for a place in the Billie Jean King Cup finals.
The hosts settled fast, claiming the first set before the Brits fought back in the second, but the Czech duo’s intensity and movement proved too much for the Brits, securing the tie in straight sets.
Katie Swan touched on her experience of playing the 11-time world champions.
“Whoever they put out there it was going to be really tough, but I think we did our absolute best, and we almost got it back in the second set, and who knows what would have happened if it had gone to a third, but unfortunately, didn’t go our way this time”, said Swan.
"It was a great effort from the whole team this weekend, and I am very proud that Anne wanted me to be a part of the deciding doubles match."